Hiking Canyonlands and Arches National Parks
by Bill Schneider (Falcon Guides)
© 2017 Bill Schneider/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
This trail was tough. Really tough. We did it on an unseasonably hot day at the end of September, and despite having 'enough' water we ran out. We did the trail counter-clockwise, and a beautiful descent (but hard and tiring) led to the canyon and some beautiful sights. There is little shade, and not a lot of easy hiking where you can make up time. It took 7 hours to do this hike, with the final 2 hours a brutal three-part ascent with a ton of rough switchbacks. Totally worth it though for awesome views!
This trail was my introduction into Canyonlands, and it has a variety of outstanding canyon visuals as well as grueling hiking. I did it clockwise, and a beautiful descent down into the canyon is only second to the Grand Canyon in full scale grandeur. The canyon bottom had flowing streams (in early November) and cottonwoods. The side trail into the heart of upheaval crater should be done. Afterwords, the first part of the hike up the Syncline valley part of the trail is almost comically tough, with only helpful chains and cables keeping one from exhausted despair. But the trail soon levels into a variety of terrain - meadow, brush - even a bog(!). The trail was a great intro into an area I wish I had spent more time in. There will be some confusing cairns at points, but I would do this one again. Try it!
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